Monday, 10 November 2014

The Very Touchy Topic of the Christian Perspective on Homosexuality

Shh, listen... do you hear that? You don't hear anything? That's it- it's the resounding silence of your Christian friends on the topic of homosexuality and gay rights. It's a topic many Christians would prefer to ignore, mostly because they're either not sure what to say, or they're scared of sounding like bigots.

But we can't really ignore the fact that homosexuality is a real thing, and you can't really sit on the fence about it. It keeps coming up- on American sitcoms, gay pride parade in your city, friends who are fighting for LGBT rights, the controversy over Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, even Bollywood movies now.

There is so much to say, but I'm not going to say it all. Maybe I'll leave you some links, maybe I'll write more later. But just a few thoughts and perspectives.

It is possible to disagree with the choices that other people make and still love them. I can accept a person, without accepting their moral choices, and even hoping, desiring, and doing whatever I can to help them make better choices. If you've ever had a friend who smokes too much, drinks too much, or is in an unhealthy relationship that is bad for them, you have already learned this. So believing that homosexual activity is ultimately not going to fulfill anyone and is even bad for them spiritually does not make one a bigot. You can disagree with my belief system, and that's your right too.

Just because it is possible to love the sinner and hate the sin does not mean Christians are doing that. It is far easier to hate the sin, and distance yourself from the sinner. And I've seen so many doing that, including myself (not in the case of homosexual lifestyles, but other sins). One of the big realizations we all need is that even when an act in itself is sinful, we are not called to judge the culpability of the sinner. That means we don't know their motives, their background, whether they are aware that they are sinning, whether they have been deceived or deceived themselves, whether the lies of our society has blinded them to truth. Even with an alcoholic who has fallen yet again, I am called to have compassion, and not condemnation.

This is one of my favourite articles about the kind of relationship you CAN have with friends you disagree with: A conversation with my gay friend by Jennifer Fulwiler

But if I truly love another human being, I CANNOT support them in a harmful lifestyle. That means I wouldn't join most LGBT movements which while promoting good things like awareness and anti-bullying, also encourage people with SSA to live an active sexual lifestyle.

I too think Section 377 should be scrapped. Every sin is not a crime. If you think that consensual homosexual activity should be an imprisonable offence, so should premarital sex, divorce, use of contraception, gluttony, masturbation, cutting (self-mutilation), and impure thoughts. If it hurts you more than it hurts anyone else, putting you in prison doesn't help anything. You can't FORCE people to stop sinning, except when it obviously causes harm to another person, which is when it becomes a crime.

Also, India treats people with SSA like crap. They can't receive medical help, they are harassed by police, they are mocked, they are rejected, they are marginalized. I can't even imagine how hard it must be for someone who is struggling with this to think about talking to their family or friends about it. Which brings me to...

Having same sex attraction (SSA) is not a sin. Desiring something you shouldn't happens to all human beings in different ways. IT IS NOT A SIN. IT IS NOT A CRIME. IT IS NOT EVEN SOMETHING TO BE ASHAMED OF. Have you been tempted to do something you shouldn't? Have you ever had sexual thoughts pop into your mind? Married people, have you ever had a crush on someone who was not your spouse? That's called 'fallen human nature'. That's the human condition. It is not someone's FAULT if they have these desires. It's what you do with them.

Like Joey Prever wrote in his coming out article 'Yoiks and Away', 'It doesn't make sense to be ashamed of something you didn't choose, and even though it’s just one among very many weird things that can happen to ordinary human beings.'

We need to acknowledge that many people are struggling with SSA. In India, no one talks about sex in a healthy way. Everything happens, noone talks about it. Pornography, adultery, prostitution, rape, child abuse, incest. But since appearances are SO important in India, everything gets covered up. And that leaves people feeling very alone and very trapped. If we never talk about it, or if we act like SSA is a temptation more disgusting than other temptations, then we have locked the ones who struggle in their closets.

The Catholic Church says, "The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided."

We need to accept that they have a heavy cross. Although every human being has their unique struggles and sufferings, some are harder than others. Joey Prever wrote in The Truth About Same Sex Attraction, "Sex isn't everything, but as anyone with any kind of sexual dysfunction knows, it’s an awful lot. Put the sexual aspect together with the other things that homosexual men and women often experience — depression, low self-esteem, loneliness, a sense (however false) of being utterly different — and you have a heavy cross.'

In conclusion

Christians, we need to step up our 'loving'. Don't be afraid to speak the truth, but truth without love is not God's truth.

People who struggle with SSA, on behalf of all Christians who have knowingly or unknowingly hurt you, excluded you, belittled you, rejected you, I'm sorry. You are not alone. Jesus loves you, and has a good plan for your life. Don't be afraid.

Here are a few links that may help:


People Can Change

Steve Gershom

And this video:

The Third Way from Blackstone Films on Vimeo.

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